How to use the app?

Introduction

The iFlora-App is a smartphone app for the identification of European plant species.

For each species more than more 200 identification characters are available. In the app, identification characters can be selected from an intuitive user interface. The identification characters can be selected by tipping on clear icons in an arbitrary sequence until the plant is identified.

You may install a free trial version, in which you can put the app to the acid test on the example of approximately 100 plant species. Within the app, different species groups can be activated: ecological species groups (e. g. trees) or species from specified regions (e. g. Flora of Germany).

With the innovative identification concept mostly information on few characters suffice to identify a plant: The identification is done mainly by tipping on intuitive icons that are accompanied by comprehensible written texts. It can be used without botanical expert knowledge.

Example: Identification of Yew (Taxus baccata)

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In iFlora, information on only three characters may suffice to identify Yew (Taxus baccata) - with a conventional identification key you'll have to answer up to 13 partly complicated and comprehensive questions. The species number mentioned below refer to the FLORA OF GERMANY.

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After selection of the first character (conifer) only 34 species meet the first identification criterium and show a 100 % match in the result list.
After recognizing the red, fleshy sheath covering the seed (aril) as an adaption related to seed dispersal only 5 species meet the 2 identification criteria
After having specified that the needles are arranged solitary at the branches you have finished and identified Yew (Taxus baccata).
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The Result of the identification can be reviewed with the information given in the fact sheets. The scientific drawings show the habitus and important identification characters of the species. In one historical drawing, differential characters are marked.

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Furthermore, the fact sheets offer information on further differential characters, habitat and the distribution of the species that may also be useful to differentiate between similar species.h.

Screenshot Merkmale Saal-Weide

Finally, further identification characters, especially in relation to closely related species are described in the comprehensive texts.

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In an extensive glossary currently approx. 480 terms are explained. The glossary is directly linked with the technical terms in the character and species descriptions.

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Identification of Plants

After getting used to the iFlora-app, plant identification is quick, simple and interactive: iFlora makes specific recommendations to ensure that the identification is conducted in as few steps as possible and yet reliable (cf more on interactive plant identification). The identification is done mainly by tipping on intuitive icons that are accompanied by comprehensible written texts. It can be used without botanical expert knowledge.
In iFlora, the taxa are typically described on the species level and you will often be able to identify the plants also on the species level. Only in problematic groups like Hieracium, Rubus or Sorbus, it is yet not possible to identify all taxa on the species level in the interactive identification mode.

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For each species more than more 200 identification characters are available, covering all relevant organs.
With the expert module approx. 150 further identification characters are available.

In the iFlora-App plants can be identified in 3 different modes: INTERACTIVE mode, ICON mode, and TEXT mode. The three modes open different paths to select the identification characters but resemble on the same set of characters. Eventually, they end up with the same results.

INTERACTIVE MODE

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This is the mode we recommend for most users!

In the INTERACTIVE-MODE the app makes specific recommendations on the best characters in order to identify the species as quick and reliable as possible: at the start of the identification iFlora proposes several characters (e. g. PHYLLOTAXY, FLOWER COLOUR), from which you can select one. On the icons, the number of remaining plants species is indicated. After typing on one of the icons that corresponds to the characters of your plant (e. g. FLOWER COLOUR RED), the iFlora-App calculates which characters are best in separating the remaining species an proposes these characters. The app makes a respective proposal which you can follow - but you may also select another identification character. This loop is repeated as long as only 1 species remains (which corresponds to all selected character), or if the remaining species can't be differentiated any more.

ICON-MODE

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In the ICON-mode you'll find a view with icons representing all available identifications characters.

In this view you can scroll down and select and identification character by tipping on the specific icon. The ICON-mode is especially useful for experienced users and when the plant shows special adaptations (e. g. prickles or latex), that apply to only few species. The sequence in which you enter the characters is insignificant. If you not familiar with identifications characters of plants, it may take a while to find appropriate characters in this mode. However, if you are familiar with plant characters this modes offer a very efficient approach.

 

 

TEXT-MODE

In the text-mode you'll find a view with short headlines representing all available identifications characters.

In this view you can scroll down and select and identification character by tipping on the specific text. The TEXT-mode is especially useful for experienced users and when the plant shows special adaptations (e. g. prickles or latex), that apply to only few species. The sequence in which you enter the characters is insignificant. If you not familiar with identifications characters of plants, it may take a while to find appropriate characters in this mode. However, if you are familiar with plant characters this modes offer a very efficient approach.

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Example: Identification of Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior).

With the example we would like to demonstrate the best practice for a quick and reliable identification. Let's assume you are standing in in front of a tree and would like to identify the species (actually Common Ash - Fraxinus excelsior).

The species number shown below refer to the iFlora-TREES modul.

Best practice for a quick and reliable identification

Depending on your previous knowledge three different practices may be appropriate (please select one of them):

That doesn't matter - You only have to answer 4 Question to identify the plant.

We recommend using the INTERACTIVE-MODE in which the app makes specific recommendations on the best characters.

You can select one of the identification characters proposed from the app.
In this example, we assume that you specify the PLANT TYPE and select the Icon DECIDUOUS TREE.

iFlora acknowledges that 139 species belong to this plant type (the numbers might differ, if you have activated other modules). After selecting the icon, the app calculates, which characters are best in separating the remaining species an proposes these characters.

Among others, the app proposes to specify PHYLLOTAXY and you may select OPPOSITE. Now only 32 species remain in the result list (deciduous trees with opposite leaves).

Next, the app proposes (among others) to specify the LEAF-TYPE which you may specify as SIMPLE PINNATE. Subsequently, only 8 species remain.

Now, iFlora suggests, among others, to specify the division of the lamina, i. e. the NUMBER OF LEAFLETS. After counting the number of leaflets and selecting >10 LEAFLETS only 1 species remains: Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior).

You may now have a look at the species' fact sheets and evaluate the identification result with the further information regarding differential characters, habitat and the distribution of the species.

2. You have some expertise in plant identification and directly acknowledge that the in front of you shows some special adaptation:

it is a deciduous tree with winged fruits and leaves that consist of numerous leaflets.

If you directly acknowledge some special adaptations of the plant, you may use ICON-mode (or the TEXT-mode, respectively) in order to choose the special adaptations first and subsequently switch to the INTERACTIVE-mode. In this example it requires 4 characters to determine the tree.


For choosing the special adaptations iFlora provides the ICON-Mode (and the TEXT-mode) in which you can scroll down and select an identification character by tipping on the specific icon (or text, respectively).

Now select the icons that correspond to the mentioned special adaptations, the sequence is not relevant. At the beginning it may take some time, to find the respective icons. However, once you are familiar with the app and this mode offer a very efficient approach.

In the example, you select the icon DECIDUOUS TREE. iFlora acknowledges that 139 species belong to this plant type (the numbers might differ, if you have activated other modules).

Furthermore, you have recognized that the tree has compound leaves with more than 10 leaflets. After selecting the appropriate Icon, only 8 species remain.

The last special adaptation refers to the winged fruits. After having selected the icon DIASPORE MORPHOLOGY - WITH WINGS only 2 species remain.

Now you may chance to the INTERACTIVE-mode.


The iFlora-app suggests, among others, to characterize the PERIANTH of the flowers (only in the expert-module).
The flowers of the tree consist only of stamina and carpels and you select the PERIANTH LEAVES ABSENT icon. Subsequently, the identification is finished, and you have determined the Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) after selecting only 4 characters.

You may have now a look at the species' fact sheets and evaluate the identification result with the further information regarding differential characters, habitat and the distribution of the species.

3. You are an experienced botanist and have recognized the Ash, off course.

However, you want to assure that it is the native species (Fraxinus excelsior) and not one of the introduced ashes, Fraxinus ornus (Manna Ash) or Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Red Ash).

In the TAXONOMY-view you can restrict the identification to a single genus (or family) and subsequently change to INTERACTIVE-mode.

In the example, you have to identify only 1 character to identify the species.

First you select the GENUS Fraxinus (Ash) in the TAXONOMY-View. iFlora then indicates that 3 Fraxinus occur in the region (the numbers might differ, if you have activated other modules). Now choose the INTERACTIVE-mode in the view DETERMINATION.

 

 

 
In the INTERACTIVE-mode, iFlora suggests, among others, to specify the division of the lamina, i. e. the NUMBER OF LEAFLETS.
After counting the number of leaflets and selecting >10 LEAFLETS you have identified Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior).

You may now have a look at the species' fact sheets and evaluate the identification result with the further information regarding differential characters, habitat and the distribution of the species

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Taxonomy and Systematics

The selection of the taxa in the app generally follows the EUR+Med Plantbase (Euro+Med 2006f).

The nomenclature of the scientific plant names is in accordance with the EUR+Med Plantbase (Euro+Med 2006f Euro+Med (2006f). The arrangement of families and higher taxa is following the APG IV System (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 2016) for angiosperms, Christenhusz et al. (2011) for gymnosperms, and Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group (2016) for ferns.

Experienced botanists often know ab initio, to which family or genus the examined plant under belongs.
Therefore, iFlora offers the opportunity to start the identification at several taxonomic levels:
Currently, genera, families, and subdivisions can be selected in the TAXONOMY-view. It is also possible, to directly select a species.

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